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Root Down Farm Ramblings

Summer Share #3 of 20: 6/22+6/24 Busy Bees

by Erin and Steve on 06/20/21

What an amazing month June has been so far (watch me jinx it). Of course we have had some wild swings in the weather, but all in all...well you can tell by the shares that things are moving along, right? This is a very busy time for us, so please remember that if you are going to miss your share and you think of that during share hours to please call or text the farm phone number (in the email sent) and ask us to put a bag together for you before we close shop. If you email us during share distribution we will not get it in any sort of expedited time.
The crops continue to roll in, including our first planting of broccoli that we typically harvest  harvest over the course of 10 to 14 days. It took all of 5 days until all of it was harvested because it was all maturing at the same time!
This week's share will have: broccoli, salad radishes and turnips, scapes, carrots, beets, scallions, kale, chard, head lettuce, spinach, bok choy and kohlrabi. I'm thinking the cauliflower will start coming in this week, too!
Don't forget to order your Savage Wheat Project Share for the week!

Summer Share #2 of 20: 6/15+6/17- Why So Serious

by Erin and Steve on 06/13/21

We as a people have come to a place in time when we all think we can do everything better than anyone else. This thought process seems to run rampant these days. Even without an ounce of learning, training, attempting, or even trying we think we can do something better than the person who does said thing for a living. What is that about? I guess people get behind a computer screen on facebook, and twitter and that is enough for people to think they can do everything better than the next person. Where's the humility or humbleness? I watched a show (a while ago now so don't ask me what the name is or where I watched it) where they would take tweets from people sitting in their homes watching professional sports, and tweeting about how much better they are than the professional athletes. The show got a guy who tweeted about a missed field goal in a football game saying something like "I could easily make that kick, and (the player) should get fired for missing it." So the show set the tweeting man up on a football field, at the same distance from the goal posts to kick it through the uprights. They even put the ball on a tee instead of snapping it, and guess what. The tweeter's attempt didn't even get off the ground, wah,wah. Afterward he made a comment about how difficult it was and that maybe he shouldn't be so hard on the players. Well, no duh. If you've only attempted something from behind a screen, that is no measure of reality. So now that we are coming out of this pandemic slowly (once again to echo posts of the past 'pan' in 'pandemic' means world...this isn't just happening to you it is happening to everyone), get out and attempt something new, learn how actually difficult it is, and gain some humility and respect for the people who do it better than you;) And then laugh and have fun and enjoy yourself because isn't that what all this is about?
Right, so let's just talk vegetables now. The warm weather has some things maturing faster than they should. Sometimes it's not a problem, sometimes it means the size of things will be smaller, and sometimes it results in losses. Let's just say that I'm happy this coming week is a little cooler! But things are looking good in the fields and the tomatoes sure didn't mind the heat. The second week of the share will include lots of broccoli, salad radishes and turnips, kohlrabi, bok choy, garlic scapes, head lettuce, spinach, and bunched greens.
Don't forget to order from Savage Wheat Project if you want those baked goods!

Summer Share #1 of 20: 6/8+6/10 Summer Share Start!

by Erin and Steve on 06/05/21

It's starting! The Summer CSA season is starting next week. If you are picking up on Tuesdays we will see you the 8th from 2:00 to 6:30. If you are picking up on Thursdays we will see you on Thursday the 10th from 2:00 to 6:30. Please check your inbox for the email from the farm with all the info you need to come grab your first share.
The season has been shaping up and coming together this past week. The vegetables are ready to be harvested so they can get in your fridge and hopefully our Summer crops, like zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc., will be along shortly ;) But until then we have a lot of leafy green things that prefer growing in the Spring and Fall. Those Summer crops can't handle cold temperatures, and can get injured if they are outside in them. To keep things in perspective we will be planting winter squash next week and the first of our Fall brassicas the following week. The season is short in WNY so we got a lot to squeeze in! It makes this time of year very busy needless to say.
So bring your payment if needed, and your mask to wear while you are in the share room in order to grab the first share of the season (wooohooo!) that will include: radishes, salad turnips, chard, kale, broccolini, spinach, bok choy, head lettuce, and bunched greens.
The fruit share is planned to start the first week in July.
See you soon!

The Long Weekend

by Erin and Steve on 05/29/21

Memorial Day is always said to mark the "unofficial start of Summer". I used to fight this sentiment tooth and nail because Summer doesn't start until June 20th. I just wanted people to know that tomatoes and eggplants and other Summer fruits shouldn't be expected at the 'unofficial start of Summer'. Just cause the weather is warm doesn't mean the plants are ready ;) Now it seems people are more aware of the seasonality of local produce so I've learned to let go of this cause.
As kids we used to spend Memorial Day visiting and tending the graves of  our family members and some family friends. We would place flowers and pull weeds if needed. They aren't all in the same cemetery, so it would take the morning. We would visit people I had known of and people I hadn't. We would visit my parent's second cousins whom I never knew in life, but memorialized in death to honor their life. I never understood it as a kid, but the memories obviously stayed alive in my mind. I understand it now and am thankful we used to do it. Now I don't live in the same town anymore and so we don't visit them on Memorial Day, but every year I still think of them.

CSA Summer Share Info- Getting Straight to It

by Erin and Steve on 05/28/21

Wowza, it's been quite the month this week (haha). It's planting season, and we are trying our darndest to get everything in the ground on schedule according to our 2021 Field Plan. We are halfway through the plan. We started planting in March and it took us three months to get to that halfway point. It will take five months, through October, to get through the last half of the plan!

This coming week will not hold any share pick up. We are going to use the time to get the washroom squared away, start up the big cooler again, get the share room ready, and keep on keeping on with everything else we do on a weekly basis. The Summer Share will start the week of the 7th...more specifically it will start on June 8th for Tuesday pick up and on the 10th for Thursday pick up. The pick up times are from 2 to 6:30.
We sent out email reminders to all our members, so make sure to check your inbox! This is the short, to-the-point version:

* Pick up takes place in the white barn, entering through the front (where the tent is), and exiting out the back. Friendly faces will be there to hep you out, especially for the first week!
* Masks will again be required to enter the share room to get your share. We did an informal survey of some of our Spring Share members and everyone who gave an opinion or concern said that they would prefer/feel safer with masks on in the share room. We appreciate your kindness in working to protect everyone in our farm community. As with everything during this pandemic we will keep updating our guidelines as time progresses.
*We are again allowing flexibility concerning pick up days. We ask that you stick with the day (Tuesday or Thursday) that you have signed up for, but if an emergency should arise you can come on the other pick up day that week without alerting the farm ;)
*We are also again offering the option for people to text or call us during your regular share pick time in order for us to bag a share for you to pick up after 6:30 under the tent out front. Your name will be on your share bag.
*Don't forget to place an order with the Savage Wheat Project! Please order at least 3 days ahead of your pick-up day (Saturday for Tuesday pick up and Monday for Thursday pick up). Root Down will be listed as a pick up site as soon as June hits. Simply choose Root Down Tuesday or Root Down Thursday for your pickup choice. After that, you can assume your order will be ready for you on your corresponding CSA day
Have a wonderful weekend! 

Spring Share #5 of 5- The Final Spring Pick Up

by Erin and Steve on 05/23/21

Well we went from 50 to 80 degrees and it looks like it's mostly gonna stick. It's also getting a bit dry, all of which is making my body think it's August, but my mind knowing there is still so much to plant!
So the irrigation has already been running almost non-stop during the daytime hours in order to water everything that's already in the fields. The Spring Share veggies planted in all the tunnels are almost done doing their job so it's time to make way for the Summer crops that'll be moving in, including our crop of ginger we plant every season.
Any of you who have followed us year after year know that I start complaining about the weeds around this time of year! We are prepping, planting, seeding, harvesting, irrigating, AND weeding everything. It is easy to start feeling overwhelmed with everything needing to get done in a short amount of time (most longer maturing crops have to be in the ground before the 4th of July in order to get a harvest from them, so think about most of those veggies even in the Winter Share are starting to grow and need care by that time).
As for the Spring Share this will be the final week of the share. There will be a week long hiatus between the end of the Spring Share and the start of the Summer Share. We will require masks for the final pick up of the Spring Share. I want to make sure (as always) that everyone in our farm community continues to feel safe picking up our vegetables at our farm.
The final Spring Share will include: carrots, radishes, bok choy, salad turnips, bunched greens, head lettuce, baby chard, spinach, lettuce mix, and asparagus! It's gonna be a BIG share ya'll 'cause we want to make sure you get through that extra week before the start of the Summer Shares! We'll see your big, beautiful, smiling masked faces then ;)

Side Note- Summer CSA Share Starts the week of the 7th!!

by Erin and Steve on 05/20/21

With all this heat it's hard not to think about fresh summertime veggies. No fear, the Summer Share will be starting the first full week of June! The crew has been working our figurative tails off to get things ready for you all. Reminder emails will be sent out sometime next week with all the info's and how-to's.
While the earliest vegetables for the Summer Share are growing in pace to be ready the first share pick up, we are also putting the first plants and seeds in the U-Pick fields. Yes, the name "Summer Share" is a bit of a misnomer because it actually starts in the Spring, spans the Summer and even goes into the Fall (the second to last week of October to be exact).
So we keep plugging away at the never ending to-do list and soon bountiful harvests will be coming in from the fields we work so hard to caretake.

Spring Share #4 of 5: 5/18+5/20- Still Gotta Wear a Mask

by Erin and Steve on 05/16/21

Oh what a week we had. It looks like the weather decided it will now be Summer, so we just have to go with it. It is a bit dry already, so we are irrigating everything. The bugs have arrived along with intense growth of all things green!
We also heard the announcement by the CDC about people who are vaccinated being able to go everywhere without a mask. It is wonderful news, because this is what we have been working toward: getting back to "normal". However this is premature for our region. Our vaccination rates are not nearly high enough for any sort of herd immunity, and my fear is that all you unvaccinated peeps out there will just lie about your vax status and not wear a mask. So to ensure everyone can stay safe, and feel safe too, we are still requiring everyone to wear a mask in the share room for now (state guidelines still require a mask). If you still do not understand that there are people who are currently being treated for a life threatening illness (think cancer amongst other illnesses) and therefore are immunocompromised and cannot receive a vaccine then you must hit your head against a brick wall a lot. Please everyone wear a mask and protect each other ;) Also, if you are able just go get vaccinated already...jeepers.
So here comes the sun and the veggies! This week's share will include: carrots, salad radishes and turnips, bunched greens, lettuce mix, spinach, and radish shoots

Spring Share #3 of 5: 5/11+5/13 Mother's Day Weekend

by Erin and Steve on 05/08/21

Yeah for Mommas everywhere...hopefully you can spend your Mother's Day not having to mother! Ha. I always like this weekend because the trees are flowering and (usually) the weather is warming. The crops are growing both inside and outside the tunnels and more and more of the fields are being prepped for the season. Hopefully the soil outside will warm enough to start being able to germinate warmer-weather-loving seeds, too.
This week's Spring Share (which is not the Summer Share) is looking bountiful and hopefully asparagus will start popping up in the share soon. This week's share will include: radishes and sweet salad turnips, carrots, bok choy, bunched greens, herbs, shoots, lettuce and spinach. Woohoo!

Spring Share #2 of 5: 5/4+5/6 Take It Easy

by Erin and Steve on 05/01/21

I like the saying 'Take it easy'. It's something I remember my dad saying as he ended conversations with other adults when I was a kid. I didn't think much about it, just adopted the saying myself until it became dated. But I'm starting to really like the saying again. "It" could mean anything, but make sure to approach "it" with ease, calm. At some point before 2020 somehow people were measuring their worth by how busy they were. Then it became an excuse to be treated differently...because "I'm so busy". Hopefully we don't go back to valuing spending most of our days in cars speeding around trying to do too many things that don't actually add any value to our lives. Take it easy. Plus it's a great song by the Eagles, too. Ha.
Anyone curious about our collective experiences with the COVID vaccine please feel free to ask. The last crew member to get their second dose is getting it on Monday the 3rd. Half of us got the feeling like our body was fighting something off, the other half had no symptoms after the second shot. **But you know both of these experiences are normal...just our bodies making antibodies ;) Everyone was back to normal within 24 hours of the shot. Also, our volunteers are also almost all vaccinated, too! How awesome is that.
This week's Spring Share (which is not the Summer Share, remember?) will include: Kale, salad radishes, carrots, arugula, herbs, shoots, spinach, lettuce, and bok choy.

Spring Share #1 of 5: 4/27+4/29- The Spring Share is Not the Summer Share

by Erin and Steve on 04/23/21

YYaasss! the Spring Share is starting next week in the face of two days worth of snow! For those who don't know, the Spring Share is a smaller share that starts prior to the start of the main season Summer CSA Share and lasts for 5 weeks. It's chock full of greens and other things that are only available in the Spring (think asparagus, garlic shoots, etc.). Why are they only available in the Spring?...because that's nature and we are all at it's whim so enjoy these special treats while they last.
**Side note- fresh asparagus isn't stringy. Whaaat?? you ask. It's true. All that stuff you buy either at a grocery store or off a menu that has asparagus available outside of Springtime is most likely grown in a different hemisphere and shipped here. Therefore it's not as fresh and becomes stringy. Fresh asparagus can be eaten raw and is crisp.** end side note ;)
Despite the cold snap the Springtime veggies are ready for your fridge. Next week's harvest launches the start to bigger, more regular harvests for the entire crew that will continue into November. Steve and I are getting our second vaccine this Sunday and our entire crew will be completely vaccinated by the end of the first week of May! It's such a liberating feeling; I've got an extra pep in my step (but of course after the shot I might feel a bit drowsy, we'll see).
**Side note- Am I the only one who can remember getting vaccines when I was a kid? I have a memory in elementary school waiting in line outside the music room to get a MMR booster (measles, mumps, and rubella). It was during class, and a required thing to be in class. We all got the booster and went back to class. And here I am 31 years later, getting a vaccine and low and behold it feels like I remember. Nobody? I'm the only one? **end side note
Everyone in the Spring share was sent at least 2 emails to remind ya'll that the share is starting next week and what to do to grab your veggies. This year the Spring Share will return to the share room in the barn and run much like the way the Summer and Winter Shares of last year were run. Just like the Summer Share, the amount of variety and the size of the share will grow as the season progresses. But the best tasting greens are grown in the Spring!
The first Spring Share will include: arugula, kale, radishes, herbs, garlic shoots, lettuce, and spinach. Remember to bring your mask ;)

Spring Share is Coming Up

by Erin and Steve on 04/17/21

The Spring Share (which is not the Summer Share... that starts in June), is starting the last Tuesday/Thursday of April. We sent out emails to everyone in the share earlier in the week. The share pick up will be in the barn's share room this season (last season's Spring Share was done in a drive-thru method because of the outbreak of COVID). The Spring Share runs for 5 weeks and pick up is from 4 to 6:00pm. Masks are still required to enter the share room and there is still the 6 foot spacing required between all customers in order to make sure everyone stays healthy (my what a small price to pay to help a neighbor).
This warm weather has got things turning green, and even the trees are starting to show some tiny leaves! It is always such an exciting time of year. We are planting and seeding as much as the weather allows. We just seeded the last seed of the Spring Share last week while also putting the first transplants for the Summer Share out into the big field.
The greenhouse is filled to the brim with heat loving crops like tomatoes. So much so that we are having to do a little 'Greenhouse Shuffle' between greenhouse 1 and 2 and the hardening off tables between them. It's all a process to get them ready to lead their own little lives out in the big, big field. Here's to a wonderful 2021 for our whole farm community!

My How Time Flies

by Erin and Steve on 04/10/21

Wow, I knew I took a small break from the weekly updates, but I didn't think it was a whole month! The weather has been so unseasonably warm that we've been a lot busier than normal at this point in the season. The Springs have been getting warmer and earlier every year usually followed by some cold, wet weather come May. So that is what we are planning will happen.
This warmer, drier weather is making it easier to get all the field work done that cold wet weather usually prevents from happening. It is the goal of all farmers to get on their land as early as the weather allows, and to just work until the weather stops you. But not this season. We have already worked our early fields and spread compost on all of them. We are getting cover cropping done and some field crop seeding done already, too (ie carrots, spinach, and salad turnips).
But the hammer will inevitably fall at some point and it will be a struggle to stay on schedule. But for now we're just getting stuff done, including our vaccinations for COVID! How wonderful will it be when I won't have to bring a mask with me to work because by the end of this month everyone here on the farm will be vaccinated!!
Here's to another wonderful season on the farm ;)

March Payment and The Savage Wheat Project

by Erin and Steve on 02/24/21

Woohoo, the sun is out an the snow is melting. I was wondering if this Winter was going to be like last Winter with not much snow, but February showed up luckily and it's been snowing everyday. Though I do love a sunny snowy day, I'm ready for some of the white stuff to melt a little. Maybe so there isn't so much pushing against the sides of our greenhouses and tunnels!
We just sent out a member wide email to update payment reminders (due March 1st) and to announce our collaboration with Emily from The Savage Wheat Project. She has started her own bakery after working at Elm Street Bakery in East Aurora, and The Grange Community Kitchen in Hamburg. She is buying up seeds of ancient grains and growing them out in hopes of creating locally produced ancient grains to use in her baking. This is the second year she has been growing a small plot of ancient grains here on our farm. She has grown out enough black einkorn that Steve was able to seed a half acre plot with it. Ancient grains are hard to find, and aren't readily available which is why she is having to start with a small handful of each of the varieties of grain and growing what she has, harvesting by hand, and repeating the next season until there is enough to grow on a commercial level. It is a big undertaking, but if any of you have had problems digesting baked goods than you should thank her for her efforts! and sign up for a bakery share too!
That's right, you can sign up for a seasons worth of baked goods to pick up when you are at the farm grabbing your veggies. Or you can do a weekly a la carte order depending on your preference. Each share contains a bread, breakfast item, snack, and dessert. Look for the email with ways to sign up!
The Savage Wheat Project's Facebook page is here:

The Wait List Saga

by Erin and Steve on 02/10/21

This season has resulted in the best customer retention rate we have ever had! What exactly does this mean? We had more people renew their share from last season to this coming season than ever before. We are proud of this because I think it means we are doing something right, but also it gives me anxiety because we were not able to accept that many new members for 2021. I am sorry for that. We really only had about 15 spots open.
So if you have been on the wait list, then you should have just gotten an email from us with info about your spot on the list and how to follow along this season (which includes reading this so maybe you already got the email ;). In the email we also have recommendations for other farms to join that are similar to us and our definition of CSA, in case you want to join another farm for this season.
We are working on updating everything from the blog here, to email lists, inventory, field and greenhouse plans, and equipment and supply lists. All in time to start seeds at the end of the month.

Root Down Farm
5850 Shimerville Rd 
Clarence Center, NY 14032

Pick up hours:
Summer Share M and Th 2-6:30
Winter Share M and Th 3-6
Spring Share M and Th 4-6
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